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Table 1

Critical Psychology Framework for
Assessing Psychological Approaches


Adapted from

Isaac Prilleltensky & Geoff Nelson
Doing Psychology Critically:
Making a Difference in Diverse Settings



Values For

Personal Wellness

Caring and protection of health
Does it promote the expression of care, empathy, and concern for the physical and emotional well-being of other human beings?
Does it promote the ability of individuals to pursue their chosen goals without excessive frustration and in consideration of other people's needs?

Relational Wellness

Human diversity
Does it promote respect and appreciation for diverse social identities?
Collaboration and democratic participation
Does it promote the peaceful, respectful, and equitable process whereby citizens have meaningful input into decisions affecting their lives?

Collective Wellness

Distributive justice
Does it promote the fair and equitable allocation of bargaining powers, resources, and obligations in society?
Support for community
Does it support vital collective structures that promote the well-being of the entire community?

Assumptions About

Power in relationships
Who has more power in relationships? Are there attempts to share power?
Professional ethics
Does ethical framework employed invited input from consumers? Are service recipients part of ethical decision making processes?
Research and Knowledge
To what end is knowledge used? Is knowledge subordinate to morality or independent from it? What philosophy of science guides research?
The good life
What conceptions of the good life are promoted? Are these based on self-interest or cooperation?
The good society
What conceptions of the good society are promoted? Are these based on the pursuit of equality or personal gain at the expense of others?

Practices Regarding

Problem definition
What factors are included and excluded from problem definition? Are psychological as well as sociological and economic factors taken into account?
Role of client
Is client active or passive? To what extent does client participate in decisions affecting his or her well-being?
Role of helper
Is helper a true collaborator or a removed expert imparting advice?
Type of intervention
Does intervention focus exclusively on intrapsychic factors, or does it include systems affecting clients?
Time of intervention
Is intervention reactive or proactive? Does psychologist wait until victims of unhealthy environments seek help or does he/she try to prevent problems?
Focus of intervention
Does intervention focus only on reducing deficits or also on enhancing competencies?


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Updated 30 September 2007 - Contacts
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